Renters may have a significant impact on the 2020 presidential election, Apartment List  reports. Renters, for example, have decidedly more progressive views on the economy than homeowners, with 70% of renters favor increased spending on aid to the poor, compared to 57% of homeowners. Additionally, in 2016, 46%of renters voted for Bernie Sanders, compared to just 34% of homeowners.
“With Sanders now emerging as the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic hopefuls, mobilizing the renter vote could secure him the nomination,” Apartment List notes.
Additionally, while homeowners are evenly split between Democrats (34.0%), Republicans (35.7%), and Independents (30.3%), renters identify as Democrats at a rate of more than two-to-one.
Democratic renters are more “progressive” than homeowners, but only when it comes to the economy. Although the renter population heavily favors Democrats, 39% of renters identify as independents, and their votes have the potential to swing the general election. These independent renters tend to hold progressive views around economic equity that would seem to align them with Democrats.
Apartment List suggests that if enter turnout had matched homeowner turnout in 2016, Hilary Clinton would have won the general election. The 2020 elections could be decided by whether or not candidates are able to effectively activate this large untapped voting bloc.
Renters could arguably have an even greater impact on the results of the general election. Renters are more likely than homeowners to support an expansion of government services by a 19%age point gap. Similarly, 51% of independent renters support increased spending on aid to the poor, compared to just 34% of independent homeowners. Additionally, incomes have grown fastest at the high end of the income distribution, and middle- and lower-income Americans have been disproportionately squeezed by rapidly rising housing costs.
“The data suggest that renters—including those who identify as independents—prioritize issues of economic equity.”